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US envoy kicks off Syria safe zone talks in Ankara

According to Turkish reports, US Syria envoy Jim Jeffrey discussed the contentious safe zone as well as "operations east of the Euphrates" with officials in Ankara, but deep differences between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds make a deal look just as remote as ever.
Boys stand on top of a Turkish Armed Forces vehicle, as a military convoy pass by their village on the Turkish-Syrian border line in Reyhanli, Hatay province, Turkey, October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RC161DB96200

The Donald Trump administration’s top envoy for Syria engagement, Jim Jeffrey, met with Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin in Ankara today to kick off talks on a proposed safe zone in northern Syria amid continued disagreement between Turkey and US-backed Syrian Kurdish military commanders over its shape, size and purpose.

The pro-government Turkish daily Sabah said the US and Turkish delegations had discussed the safe zone alongside what it described as “operations east of the Euphrates” and other Syria-related issues. Turkey has repeatedly threatened to mount a military offensive against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) over the group's links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the guerrilla outfit that has fought the Turkish army for Kurdish independence and then autonomy for the past 35 years.

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